Shelly Silver


»I want to focus on the act – particular, yet open-ended – that entrances my protagonist: an act that we, the audience, share with him. This is the act of watching. Looking. Seeing. What does it mean to look, to watch, to photograph, to film? … I want to focus on fiction, this realm that frees us from the stranglehold, the exigencies of past and present. The narrator uses fiction to imagine that things can change, to expand into possibilities that ›reality‹ precludes. In this way, fiction or fabulation is the present’s gift to the future.«
– Shelly Silver

A man returns to Chinatown, after fifty years, to care for his dying mother. He is a librarian, a cataloguer and recorder, a gay man, a watcher, an impersonator. He passes his time collecting images – his witnesses and collaborators. Sitting in the dark, we look at them and share his cloak of invisibility, both a benefit and a curse. This man, who never tells us his name, returns as both insider and outsider to a neighbourhood from which, as a teenager, he escaped as fast as he could.
Touch is an essay narrated from one man’s point of view. But it is also fiction, for this man is a made-up person, an amalgam of research, interviews, off-the-record comments, secrets, improbabilities and free-floating desires.

Awards for ›Touch‹
Le Prix du Patrimoine de l’Immatériel, Cinéma du Réel, Paris | Mention Spéciale par le jury, Compétition Internationale, Cinéma du Réel, Paris 2013

Director / Cinematography / Contact

Shelly Silver


Shelly Silver, Cassandra Guan


Bill Seery


Lu Yu


House Productions

Shelly Silver

Shelly Silver is a New York based artist exploring contested territories between public and private, narrative and documentary, and increasingly in recent years the watcher and the watched. She has exhibited worldwide, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Yokohama Museum, the London ICA, and the London, Singapore, New York, Moscow, and Berlin Film Festivals.

Films by Shelly Silver (Selection)
5 Lessons and 9 Questions about Chinatown 2009 | In Complete World 2008 | Suicide 2003 | 37 Stories About Leaving Home 1996 | Former East/Former West 1994 | April 2nd 1994 | We 1990 | Getting in. 1989 | Things I Forget to Tell Myself 1989 | Meet the People 1986